Arsenal will be facing another test of might when they go against Chelsea on Sunday. The last time both teams met, Jose Mourinho’s side had exuded class when they put 6 goals past the mediocre Gunners. Ahead of the crunchy tie, the Gunners will be without defenders: Mathieu Debuchy and Nacho Monreal, midfielders: Mikel Arteta, Aaron Ramsey and Serge Gnabry with attackers: Oliver Giroud and Theo Walcott also out due to injury worries. Manager, Arsene Wenger will be looking to bounce back from their menacing draw against Liverpool having drubbed Turkish outfit, Galatasaray.
Chelsea on the other hand will aim to continue with their excellent start in the much anticipated London derby. The Blues already have a three point advantage at the top of the Premier League table and with the quality of players they have at their disposal, they may be set to push on and claim their first title since 2010. Wenger is yet to record a single win over Mourinho and will be hoping to turn the table against the mercurial Portuguese, and with his summer arrival Danny Welbeck blazing on all guns, the Frenchman might just be ready to try new things.
Arsenal’s Vice-Captain Per Mertesacker is also confident that with the boost that the team has received fromtheir Champions League victory, they will be too much to handle for the Premier league leaders but if the Gunners envisage a win come Sunday, then there are 3 very important things they need to consider:
Physical Presence: Jose Mourinho is widely known for his strength based tactics. The former Real Madrid manager had invented the ‘Parking the bus ‘ slogan which has now gone viral for any team that chooses to play a premeditated defensive style. His plan will most likely be to deploy Nemanja Matic and Even Mikel Obi to muscle down the Gunner’s midfield and then play erstwhile Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas in a more advanced role. So with Aaron Ramsey already ruled out, Arsenal’s best bet will be to introduce Abou Diaby into the fray to inject some physical presence. In 21st century football, matches are won from the midfield, so once Wenger attempts to match the Blues physical abilities, Jose might likely change to long range passes which will allow the Gunners more space.
Cautiousness: The last time both teams met, Wenger had hoped to get ahead of Chelsea in the earlier stages and then drop down defensively with just occasionalcounter attacks. The plan which unfortunately didn’t come to fruition resulted in a sickening loss. This time, the Gunners should take their time and attempt to settle into the game. This tactic although risky might throw Chelsea of their game and seek to press further. Arsenal can then advance with their tiki-taka style.
Finally, Arsenal must be wary of Mourinho’s tactics. The Portuguese might likely deploy rough tackling players like Matic with detailed instructions to bring out certain players. The moment Arsenal players attempt to retaliate, they lose focus and with anger venting in their veins, they might not be able to follow their plans closely enough to avoid a defeat on Sunday.